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Ridiculous Request for Valentine's Day Guidance

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I realize Valentine's Day is the worst night to go out to dinner (especially at this late date), but I'll be in SF for work and want to meet up with two friends in the area (but not from the city). Any thoughts on a fun, $ - $$$ priced restaurant that doesn't need reservations? We'll do dive, but we'll also do a scene. Nothing too quiet and stuffy. Will be staying in the Union Square area but willing (and would like to) travel to another neighborhood. (Nothing more than a $25 cab ride?) Many thanks.

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  1. Why not go somewhere with absolutely no pretense of romance?: I think I'd walk up to Thai House Express under those circumstances. That said, I am not sure what you mean by 'fun', but anything that would be sort of 'hip' would probably also be unbearable on VDay (at least to me, but I won't be going out that night).

    5 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      While I enjoy eating at Thai House I would never tell someone to walk from Union Square to Thai house. A cab would be better. I do think Asian food would be a good option. How about Straits in the Westfield Centre, lively atmosphere and pretty good food. Also, South of Market is Tres Agaves and Maya. If you can get access to the internet you could check on Open Table for a last minute reservation.

      1. re: Sharon S

        I don't think that's what Susan meant by "walk up." I think that was a euphemism for showing up without reservations.

        1. re: Atomica

          well, actually, I did mean walk. I wouldn't necessarily do it alone after dark, well actually, probably I would, but I realize that the neighborhood can be a bit iffy, and it is about 3/4 of a mile, but I would certainly do it with a group of three. But yes, a cab is a fine option. Certainly, the cab will be a lot less than $25.

          I would *not* recommend Straits based on my experience: food definitely wasn't worth the atmosphere, which I would call more bedlam than 'lively'. Especially not on V-Day. I also would be leary of Maya and Tres Agaves for similar reasons.

          El Delfin is a good suggestion too, if the OP wants to go further afield.

          The problem with many of the places on Open Table (One Market, Azie, etc) is that, while I like some of them-One Market in particular- you have to be very leary of the V-Day special menu and turning tables quickly syndrome-I'd defintely ask about special menus before booking. And then, the OP specifically said h/she was looking for a place where reservations weren't required.

          1. re: susancinsf

            Oops, sorry.

      2. re: susancinsf

        I don't even know what I mean by "fun" - it is kind of the annoying, vague word. As opposed to the dull restaurant I'd like to go the next night?

      3. El Delfin has been mentioned on the board a lot lately...I believe they are open on Valentine's Day, and they do take reservations but I would guess that they still have space available. I could be wrong though. Here's a link to a recent post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367572

        El Delfin
        3066 24th Street
        San Francisco, CA 94110
        (415) 643-7955

        1. Just did a quick search on Opentable.com to see what was available that I could recommend-

          Cortez -small plates, tapas, good food, nice place to meet friends in Union Sq.

          Jeanty at Jack's- French, casual elegant in the Financial district

          One Market - American/Calif. good food, Finacial/Embarcadero area

          Azie- Asian Fusion good food, lively atmosphere, SOMA area

          1. How about Lahore Karahi? Can't beat the food or price.

            1. The manager at Boulevard recently gave me a great insight -- restaurants on V-day always book for two person tables, but have trouble filling the 4 plus seats. It's actually a great night to go out with 3+ people. I would recommend Cortez (in the Hotel Adagio), Boulevard, or an ethnic restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lexcre8

                Fascinating. I never would've thunk it -- the easiest way to dine out on Valentines Day
                is to get a group of 3 to 4 or "double-date." The kitchens are jammed on that night, though,
                which may make a difference in the quality of the food on your individual plate, however.
                Sounds like low-key, pizza, Chinese, North Bay may be worth a shot...

              2. What about Farmer Brown? It's near your hotel (though I know you didn't want that), but it won't likely be a huge Valentine's Day destination, it has a great bar, and is a nice lively place. The menu is online, you can check it out to see if you like it.

                1. hop on bart and get off at the macarthur station and either walk (if you are with your friends ) or jump in a cab for a quick ride to Pizzaiolo at 5008 Telegraph and 51st St. Very "fun" restaurant, amazing food, great vibe, hip, and doing some sort of slightly different V-day menu...but nothing outrageous. $$

                  1. You could have dinner at the Helmand in North Beach [afgan] and then "swim"
                    back to Union Square [via Tosca, Tunnel Top, the bar at the Ritz Carlton, chinatown
                    "dive bar" [sic]].

                    ok tnx.